Fear of public humiliation might fuel code of silence.
While reflecting on the GOP Senators stance to not speak their truth to power, a therapy client and survivor of intimate partner abuse, said in a recent session, “Never again should we hear the startling question, ‘Why doesn’t she just leave.’ Most GOP Senators seem to have come under a similar disempowering influence from an individual who beyond the power of the presidency, seems to entwine coercion. The means our President has used to coerce political rivals, something not unlike what a controlling partner does to gain power over their intimate partner.
Tactics of Coercion to Achieve Submission
Coercive tactics are recognized as powerfully persuasive especially when used in a situation where others are perceived as less than. Gaslighting and public humiliation have been on display in recent years in our own federal government.
Never before have we heard the term “gaslighting” used by mainstream media to describe behavior we have witnessed during the current presidency. Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation, a tactic that uses distorted or outright false statements to coerce and persuade the targeted person or persons, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment. Gaslighting is often buttressed by strong feelings of conviction in the orator.
In the realm of intimate partner abuse, it’s commonly used by the one seeking power over the partner to render into submission. In time, gaslighting creates self-doubt in the recipient where they become vulnerable to believing the lies and distortions, and in doing so, they lose agency over their own life.
With the GOP Senators, it’s difficult to comprehend that they have entirely come under the influence of a President who is recognized for thousands of untruths learned through daily fact-checking. How do they fail to see his distortions? If only victims of domestic violence had this fact-checking regarding their partner’s behavior to assist them with reality checks and validation.
However, by the presidential attacks on the media as “fake news” (an example of gaslighting), some GOP Senators appear persuaded or perhaps compliant when we see those same untruths reiterated. Even so, gaslighting alone doesn’t seem to be the explanation for their deafening silence.
“People in power use humiliation as a form of social control; it is a common tool of oppression. The fear of humiliation is also a powerful motivating force.” (Emotional Competency.com)